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Beyond the Bale : December 2015
OFF FARM 13 AWI was a proud supporter of this year’s annual Istanbul Fashion Conference organised by the Turkish Clothing Manufacturers Association (TGSD) which was held in October in conjunction with the International Apparel Federation’s World Fashion Convention in Istanbul. This important annual trade event brought together, not only Turkey’s textile industry, but also an audience from more than 25 other countries from across the world. AWI secured British fashion designer Gordon Richardson, the Creative Director of TOPMAN, as a keynote speaker for the event. TOPMAN is a fast-paced and innovative UK-based men’s fashion brand that produces 22 per cent of its product mix in Turkey. Mr Richardson himself is a great advocate of Merino wool and uses the fibre where possible across his collections, from knitwear to tailoring and outerwear. “Merino wool sits within our premium labelled collections,” Mr Richardson said. “It has the added advantages of quality and luxury as opposed to man-made fibres that work well for more overt fashion styles.” Gordon Richardson depicted a key trend of “smartening down” for the coming seasons. “It’s about taking casualwear garments and doing them in formal luxe woollen fabrics; this makes product look new, exciting and expensive.” This developing trend, coupled with the fact that formalwear is a product area that TOPMAN is actively looking to source from Turkey, represents an excellent opportunity for Merino wool and the Turkish manufacturers who work with the fibre. AWI Country Manager for the UK, Rebecca Kelley, says Turkey is a strategically important manufacturing country that has capacity to drive volume growth in Australian Merino wool product. “Not only does it occupy an ideal geographical position providing a middle ground between the US, Europe and the Far East, enabling quicker lead times, it is well placed to service significant countries on its periphery such as Russia and Iran,” she said. “The textile industry in Turkey is well established with a strong skill base; around 65 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 30 and well educated which makes the country attractive to overseas brands and investors. “For example in 1998 Hugo Boss set up a state of the art manufacturing facility in the coastal city of Izmir followed by a second one in 2004; the factory employs approximately 3,000 people and produces in excess of 500,000 suits a year. “TOPMAN’s parent company, the Arcadia Group, is one of many other companies that has a buying office in the country and is looking to increase the amount of product including Australian Merino wool that they source from Turkey. “The textile sector makes up seven per cent of Turkey’s GDP and is a significant contributor to the country’s economy which has the domestic and foreign investment to grow. AWI is in a strong position to be able to leverage these opportunities within Turkey and its key export regions.” During the conference Mr Richardson also spoke of his and TOPMAN’s active support of emerging design talent. He implored the audience to support this through their businesses if they had the chance and commented, “It’s the future of our industry and without them this industry has nothing” – a sentiment that is shared by AWI which runs the prestigious International Woolmark Prize. AWI promotes Australian wool in the significant textile manufacturing hub and increasingly important retail market of Turkey – a country overlapping Asian and European markets. TALKING TURKEY ABOUT WOOL TOPMAN Creative Director Gordon Richardson – who is an advocate of Merino wool – was presented with a glass tulip (the national symbol for Turkey) by TGSD board member Esra Ercan for his participation in the conference supported by AWI.
In the Shops - March 2016